Category Archives: Uncategorized

Vacant Rooms & Stagnation in the Process of Assembly

When questioning depends on pulling together a basis of comparison, and when stories to compare against are few and far between, it’s hard to really get anywhere. That’s what this post is about, essentially: gender questioning that remains patchy and inconclusive in part because of a culture of definitions over stories.

[A submission for the Gender Exploration Carnival. Preview image by Terry Alexander, CC BY 2.0.]

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Spec Work: Tracing the Emergence of “Spec” as a Suffix

A post on the “spec” suffix, as used in “arospec” and “acespec” (*shudder*), and its (un)surprising connection to certain ways of thinking about grayness. Because there’s nothing like fixating on lexical minutiae to help me avoid thinking about bigger problems.

The title here, for the record, is a joke based on the term spec work (as in speculative wages), which makes it something of a pun, since this post is also speculative. The evidence is fragmented, and piecing together a timeline involves some amount of guesswork. Corrections and contributions welcome. Still, Zhyrs asked to see what I’ve dug up, so here we go.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Fredrik H.]

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Affective Contortions

Some fragments on gender, neurodivergence, and emotion, inspired by the TAAAP Chats theme for July. This relates back to some other conversations from the past couple of years, but I’m unable to fully unspool all those connections at the moment, so for now, take this as just a personal reflection piece.

[ Crossposted. Preview image by Ninniane, CC BY-NC 2.0. ]

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How Using Tumblr is Undermining Your Community

Are you a member of a small, marginalized identity-based community of Tumblr bloggers, looking to advocate for yourselves, support each other, have meaningful discussions, build, and grow? Then Tumblr itself is standing in your way.

What I criticize in this post is the structure of Tumblr as a platform and what it does to the groups who settle there. Rest assured, it has nothing to do with particular “types of people” or identifying the “bad people,” although it does get into criticizing some bad types of habits, behaviors, and mindsets. The purpose of this post is simply to discuss how the structure of the website itself can undermine community.

On that note, my goal here is to say something different than the usual complaints. I won’t be covering all the usual glitches, inconveniences, jankiness, or even the myriad problems with the automated NSFW flagging and appeal process. A Tumblr user doesn’t need it pointed out to them that the site can be technically dysfunctional. What warrants an explanation, I figure, is how the site itself — with nothing inherent to the userbase — has also been socially detrimental.

[This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

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Tumblr Ask-Advice Blogging: What’s Holding It Back & How Link Culture Could Help

As many of you know, around the Tumblr “ask” messaging system has grown a culture of dedicated ask-advice blogs, typically inviting questions on specific identities and experiences, such as asexuality. Ideally, these blogs should be helpful places for soliciting advice and making contact with new communities. Unfortunately, however, these blogs face certain inherent problems that severely limit how useful they can be.

The biggest limitations lie in three structural elements of the format: 1) the single respondent, 2) the delayed posting of the initial message, and 3) the notifications all going to the person who answers, not the person who asks. In addition, there are also some psychological issues to account for. Popular advice bloggers, facing a deluge of advice-seekers, are especially prone to writing answers that are both 4) overconfident and 5) rushed, resulting in especially shallow, misleading, or even harmful advice. Aside from changing Tumblr’s features directly, one way to mitigate these issues would be by cultivating more of a culture of links.

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Relationship =/= Partnership

This is a post about two things: relationships, and a relationship.

It’s also a post I’ve been ambivalent about making — or rather, ambivalent about intending as a submission to the August Carnival of Aros. In my last post about the aro community, I discussed my relationship to the aro umbrella as a quoiromantic and came to no conclusions. Just three months ago, I hesitated about even commenting on Carnival of Aros submissions after the fact, worried about to what extent I might be considered an unwelcome intruder. In response to a private post about that concern, Sennkestra, one of the aros who helped launch the Carnival, not only reassured me about that, but also created the present FAQ Page for anyone else wondering the same thing. Under the heading “Who can participate,” that FAQ now extends an extensive invitation to not just confident aros, but also anyone who is questioning an aro identity, anyone who finds some aro narratives useful, anyone who identifies with something considered “adjacent” to aromanticism, and “anyone with any other type of relationship to aromanticism that I haven’t thought to list yet.” To some, maybe that’s overkill. To me, it’s just-enough-kill — just enough to confirm that I’m on the guest list.

With that said, this is a post that I might have written regardless: a reminder about the meaning of the term “relationships” itself & how I use it, plus some reflection on how my outlook on my own relationships has (and hasn’t) changed.

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(What) does the aro community want (with) quoiros?

A post about being quoiro amid aro-ace conflict & feeling unsure of my relationship to the aro umbrella. Crossposted. One part personal reflection post, one part invoice to the aro community, and one part gratuitous smattering of links — all centering around two questions: Does the aro community want quoiros to be counted among them? And if so, am I supposed to consider myself to be, in certain circumstances, “basically aro”?

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Queerplatonic is not an aro term

Or, now that the clickbait title has got your attention, let me make that a claim with a little more nuance: to say that “queerplatonic is an aro term” is a statement that, if it is made, deserves to be qualified. And I’ll explain why.

[Note: this post has been crossposted to Pillowfort. Updated 3/8/19.]

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Announcement for Vesper

In one of my classes, we’re on the unit on Foucault, and now every time I see/hear the words “Visibility is a trap,” I think of you.


“Estranged Parents and Boundaries”

All relationships have boundaries, but people usually don’t state them explicitly unless the other person has crossed the line. Therefore, openly stating a boundary implies that the other person has done something wrong, and members of estranged parents’ groups aren’t having that.

issendai, Down the Rabbit Hole: The world of estranged parents’ forums, “Estranged Parents and Boundaries”

Possibly of painful interest to those of you with family issues and crummy parents. This is mostly just quotes, but if you’re like me, it can be illuminating/helpful to see echoes of personal experience atomized like this. Obvious content warning for self-entitled parents saying awful things.